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New SNAP Eligibility in California Associated With Improved Food Security and Health.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.5888/pcd18.200587
IntroductionIn California, Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries were ineligible to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits until a June 2019 policy change. The objective of this study was to determine whether SNAP eligibility was associated with changes in food insecurity and health among older adults and adults with disabilities.
MethodsWe administered a survey to SSI recipients (N = 213) before (May-August 2019) and after (September 2019-January 2020) the policy change. We examined changes in food insecurity (primary outcome), health status, stress, medication adherence, and dietary intake from baseline to follow-up. Multivariable analyses adjusted for age, sex/gender, race/ethnicity, and education.
ResultsOf 213 participants at baseline, 56.8% were male, 43.7% were Black/African American, 88.7% had an annual income of less than $15,000, and 89.7% were currently housed. Of 157 participants at follow-up, 114 (72.6%) were newly enrolled in SNAP. At follow-up, compared with baseline, participants were less likely to report food insecurity (83.1% vs 67.5%, P < .001), required less additional money for food ($73.33 vs $47.72 weekly, P < .001), were more likely to report excellent/very good health (26.8% vs 27.6%, P < .001), and were less likely to report cost-related medication nonadherence (24.1% vs 17.7%, P < .001) or use free food programs (82.6% vs 74.5%, P < .001). We found no changes in dietary intake.
ConclusionSNAP uptake rates were high after the policy change. Policies that support older adults and adults with disabilities to enroll in or maintain SNAP benefits may improve health outcomes.
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